Joseph Halicek was drafted in 1943 and sent to Camp Wolters in Texas for Army basic training. After graduating basic, Joseph went to Army Ranger School at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky. He served with the 94th Infantry Division for more training in Scotland and then England. There, paratroopers returning from the D-Day invasion told Halicek of the conditions at Utah Beach, which he would soon experience.
Out of training, Halicek’s first mission was to guard submarine pens where his unit experienced few casualties. When the 66th Infantry relieved his unit, they saw fierce fighting as they moved up to the Ardennes. An artillery shell exploded next to Halicek, injuring his eardrums and legs. When Halicek’s unit reached the Rhine River, he learned the war was over.
On Occupation Day, the Army sent Halicek—whose family was of Czech descent—to the Czech Republic. Since he could speak the language, he interpreted disputes between the soldiers and civilians. Halicek returned home in December 1945. The Army discharged him a month later.
Back home, Halicek found work at a glass factory, and he soon became involved with the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans. Joseph Halicek died in 2016. More of his story can be found at: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.04924/.
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.